What Happens If You Fail to Appear in Criminal Court in MI?

If you were arrested for a criminal offense or accused of a serious traffic violation, you will be required to appear in court on a certain date. But what happens if you fail to appear (FTA) in court or attend a trial?

In Michigan, missing a court date could result in a bench warrant or an arrest warrant. While bench warrants are often issued against the defendant facing misdemeanor charges or a traffic offense, an arrest warrant is ordered in more serious criminal cases (e.g. violent and sex crimes).

The Difference between Arrest & Bench Warrants

If a judge orders an arrest warrant against you, the police will actively attempt to arrest you. By contrast, if you are subject to a bench warrant, the only way you will get the attention of law enforcement is if you were stopped for a minor traffic violation and an officer discovers the bench warrant after running your information through a database.

What Should I Do If I Have a Bench Warrant?

There are a few options available if there is a bench warrant for you. First, you can contact the court clerk or the local police department to figure out how to come in and pay the bail in order to recall the warrant.

However, if you missed your court date after posting bail, that money is typically forfeited. If you can give the judge a good reason for missing your court date (e.g. circumstances beyond your control such as medical emergency, or lack of notice), you may receive that bail money back or have it credited against your court costs and fines.

Having an experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side can help you obtain the most favorable outcome. Your attorney can help you show that you take the charges you’re facing seriously and argue on your behalf.

For more information about bench warrants in Okemos, contact White Law PLLC today at (517) 316-1195.